Toyota Century GR is Akio Toyoda's Dream Come True

Sam McEachern
by Sam McEachern

Toyota unveiled the new third-generation Century luxury sedan to much fanfare at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show.

The Century is a staple in the Japanese automotive landscape – it’s been around since 1967 and has barely changed in that time. The new one looks a lot like the outgoing model with its boxy styling, available wool interior and traditional wood trim, but it also gets some new tech in the way of a hybrid 5.0-liter V8 powertrain, interior active noise cancellation, rear-seat entertainment and a 20-speaker audio system.

SEE ALSO: Toyota Sedan Looks Straight Out of the ’90s – but it’s Actually All New

Shortly after the car made its debut in Tokyo last year, Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda was asked what car he’d one day like to drive. As Japanese Nostalgic Car reports, Toyoda said his ideal ride would be a new a Century tuned by the automaker’s performance and racing sub-brand, Gazoo Racing, or GR for short. Many thought he was joking – but the 62-year old was serious. So serious, in fact, that he had GRMN develop a prototype version of the vehicle to test the waters.

新型センチュリーのGRMN? pic.twitter.com/DDaOSNv2I2

— あ き ら (@50ESTIMA05) September 7, 2018

A white Century GR prototype was recently spotted by Twitter user @50ESTIMA05, which could be a sign that a production version is on the way. The Century GR’s existence was first made known last December, when Japanese car website Car Sensor dug up a photo of Toyoda proudly standing next to a black example. The sedan features sporty front, side and rear lip extensions, along with a lip spoiler, sporty-looking alloy wheels and ‘GR’ badges.

豊田章男会長の公用車として、「センチュリーGRMN」がお披露目されました。本日の自工会会長定例会見(日本自動車会館)にて突如登場。「いいでしょこれ。市販の予定はまだないんですけどね」と豊田会長。すっげー! 詳報はのちほど!! https://t.co/5m8Mp6FxI4 pic.twitter.com/jthmmKBkQ5

— ベストカーWeb編集部 (@bestcarmagazine) September 20, 2018

Details on the Century GR’s powertrain are slim, but Car Sensor reports the hybrid 5.0-liter V8 remains intact. It’s not clear if power has been boosted beyond the standard Century’s 430 hp, but additional power should be on tap for anything wearing the GR badge.

Just when we thought the Japanese domestic car industry couldn’t get any more eccentric, they roll out a performance version of a classically styled luxury limousine. Never change, Japan.

[Source: Japanese Nostalgic Car]

Photo via @50ESTIMA05 on Twitter.

Discuss this story on our Toyota Forum.

Sam McEachern
Sam McEachern

Sam McEachern holds a diploma in journalism from St. Clair College in Windsor, Ontario, and has been covering the automotive industry for over 5 years. He conducts reviews and writes AutoGuide's news content. He's a die-hard motorsports fan with a passion for performance cars of all sorts.

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